August 9, 2011

Safrinha Corn Production in Mato Grosso May be Down 40%

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

According to the Mato Grosso Association of Soybean and Corn Producers (Aprosoja), the safrinha corn production in the state will be 40% below the production of 2010. They feel the planted acreage fell 10% and the statewide corn yield will be 30% below the yield obtained in 2010.

Producers in the state decided to switch some of their intended corn acreage into cotton production when cotton prices hit record highs. It is estimated that producers in the state switched 400,000 hectares of safrinha corn into additional cotton production. The lower yields are being blamed on the delayed planting of the corn and the early onset of the dry season.

Heavy rains during the soybean harvest delayed harvest activities and subsequently corn planting. The ideal planting window for safrinha corn in Mato Grosso closes on approximately February 20th, but an estimated 500,000 hectares of corn was planted during the month of March. Late planted corn can achieve acceptable yields if the rainy season is extended into June. Unfortunately, this year the rains ended earlier than normal in early April resulting is severe moisture stress for much of the late planted corn.

The lower production is being somewhat compensated for by higher domestic corn prices. In 2010, the price of corn in the state was in the range of R$ 6 to R$ 7 per sack of 60 kilograms, which was below the cost of production. As a result, many producers decided to sell their corn to the government at a guaranteed minimum price instead of selling it to the local market. This year, domestic corn prices are in the range of R$ 16 to R$ 18 per sack, which is above the cost of production. Therefore, while production is down in 2011, gross income may be higher in 2011 compared to 2010.

It is estimated that 85% of the 1.7 million hectares of safrinha corn planted in the state has been harvested.